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State v. Walker

Kansas Supreme Court
80 P.3d 1132 (2003)


Facts

Michael Walker (defendant) was tried for first-degree felony murder and criminal discharge of a firearm at an occupied dwelling for his role in a drive-by shooting that resulted in the death of a young child. The trial court judge gave the jury an instruction about the burden of proof and reasonable doubt that was consistent with Kansas’s statutory jury instructions. The jury then requested a clear definition of reasonable doubt. Over the prosecutor’s objections and with the defense counsel’s approval, the judge gave the jury an additional, lengthy definition of reasonable doubt, which included the phrase “it is such a doubt as a juror is able to give a reason for.” After the additional jury instruction was given, Walker was convicted. Walker appealed, alleging that the judge’s additional instructions defining reasonable doubt were improper.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Luckert, J.)

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